The Shaquille O’Neal/Demarcus Cousins era is officially upon us with the announcement Boogie received his wish and re-upped with the team who made him the fifth overall pick in 2010.
Here are some fun facts surrounding the deal:
— The much beleaguered big man receives a max extension for four years, $62M.
— There is no early termination option.
— He’s the third member of NBA Draft Class of 2010 to sign a max contract extension (John Wall and Paul George).
— Boogie will attend weekly anger management meetings where he must recite the famous Carl Winslow “3,2,1; 1,2,3″ speech at the start of each session.
Ok, the last one isn’t true, but the Kings have obviously pushed all the chips on the table in regards to Demarcus. Their hope is the environment of permanent franchise place to call home in Sacramento coupled with a new regime of ownership and coaching suddenly revitalizes and reforms the mercurial big man. And perhaps if anyone can reach Cousins on a level of talent and dealing with his own set of issues both on and off the court, it’s Shaq. Maybe. Whatever the case, hopefully Dr. O’Neal’s first season of mentoring Demarcus is smoother than Shaq’s inaugural run on Inside The NBA (to be fair, The Diesel did improve notably his sophomore season with Ernie, Kenny and Chuck).
As a self-proclaimed Boogie Cousins apologist, I’m well aware there are safer bets than hoping he doesn’t blow his top over a bad call, or in other words, hoping “Demarcus doesn’t Demarcus” – like running into rush hour traffic and not getting hit, finding a Chick-Fil-A open on Sunday or Ann Coulter marrying a Black man. I get it. I get it.
Yet, call me a sucker for continuing to believe in a 23-year-old who averaged 17 and 10 last season and has all the talent in the world to average 24 and 12 pending he – *makes prayer hands* – pulls it together. For nearly $16M+ a year, it’s in all parties best interest to. We already saw Derrick Coleman once. We don’t need to see that again.*
* – Derrick Coleman had all the talent in the world. Seriously, at one point in 1993, the NY Times called him the best player in the second half of the season not named Michael Jordan. He could do everything a team would ever want a power forward to do, except “get it.”